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Re: Bug#846002: blends-tasks must be priority:standard and not make a mess out of tasksel menu


Holger Levsen, on Sun 27 Nov 2016 17:38:27 +0100, wrote:
> So how to fix this *and* allow Debian blends be installed easily from
> official Debian media?


> The idea is, that these images have the *same features* (and packages), the
> differences are just which the preselected default in the boot menu.
> This has several benefits:
> - it's possible to tell people "download $this iso to install $this type of
>   Debian"

> For blends-tasks it's probably enough to add a commandline parameter like this:
> 	preseed/late_command="apt install -y blends-tasks"
> (or probably better to turn blends-tasks into an udeb…)

This makes me think about a recurring issue: being able to easily
personalize an ISO image.

It's useful to have an ISO image that "just install this and that on the
whole disk without asking anything" without having to setup PXE.

It's useful to have an ISO image that just directly uses the native
language of the target users.

We need it for accessibility for the cases where a braille device
can not be automatically detected for instance, some parameter must
be manually set, and that can't be done in an accessible way in the

Of course, that's called preseeding, one just has to stuff a preseed.cfg
file on a key.  But one also have to put magic stuff on the kernel
command line to get it loaded, etc.  It's really far from convenient
(and doesn't fix the accessibility case).

I was thinking that we could reserve some room on the ISO image itself
to contain this, so that it can be easily patched over.  Something
like a dumb preseeding file full of comments, to have enough room for
personalization.  The idea would be that the official Debian images have
this file with a well-known content.  Personalization tools can then
just change the content, without having to rebuild the ISO image.  Such
personalized ISO image then fails any checksum verification of course,
but one can revert the personalization by putting back the well-known
content, and thus be able to verify the checksum.

With such a setup, the various blend images could be simply
personalizations of the officiel CD image.  The personalization step
could be done by the blend teams and put for download, or it could even
somehow be done on the fly at download time.

As a side note:

> For illustration, these are some netinstall image _flavors_/_spins_ I have in mind:
> 	debian-classic / textmode d-i
> 	debian-graphical installer
> 	blends selection (graphical)
> 	debian-edu blend (graphical)
> 	debian-parl blend (graphical)

> 	debian-speakup (textmode d-i with speech enabled by default)

This one does not make sense: using speech is completely orthogonal to
everything else. That's why it's a boot entry on all images.


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